Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - January 31, 2009

From: Cedar Creek, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Short native turf grass for Texas lawn
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I would like a native grass mix that doesn't get too tall. It is mostly sun with afternoon shade. Mowing wouldn't be a problem, but not necessary. The soil is pretty good but shallow.I hate the bermuda grass and with the drought we have no grass. It can be protected from foot traffic for as long as needed. All mixes have bluestems that are too tall and coarse for this area. It's my front yard or whats left of it.I've removed all the existing grass and have made large flower and shrub beds. This is a small area that I'd like to be restive after all the other plantings around it.

ANSWER:

Please go to the web site of Native American Seed in Junction Texas and see their Native Sun Turfgrass mix, a combination of 66% Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and 34%  Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama).  Both of these grasses have a maximum height of less than a foot, require little water and need little or no mowing.  Both grasses do best in full sun, but it sounds like you might have enough sun to make them happy.  Also, on the Native American Seed site, check out their Planting Tips for Native Grasses and on our Wildflower Center site, please read Native Lawns:  Buffalograss.  If you find that the shadier areas of your lawn aren't doing as well you would like, you could consider putting sedges there.  Here are two possibilities that grow less than a foot high and are evergreen:

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge) grows in part shade.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) grows in sun and part shade.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis

 

 

 

 

More Turf Questions

Did my neighbor's zucchini affect my apple tree from Oak Lawn, IL
October 26, 2009 - My neighbor planted zucchini plants near a flowering non-fruit producing apple tree in my yard. Soon afterwards in July the tree began to shed leaves. Could the zucchini plant have caused this?
view the full question and answer

Buffalograss to replace non-native St. Augustine lawn in Rockport TX
February 16, 2010 - I currently have a St. Augustine lawn that is being overtaken by weeds. I would like to replace it with buffalo grass. How do I prepare my lawn in order to seed it with the buffalo grass and how tol...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for shady yard in Austin
September 04, 2011 - I was looking at your research on native grasses to be used in a yard. I want to plant your native mix of seeds, but worry that there is too much shade in my yard. I live in central Austin and wante...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf in Houston
January 30, 2012 - I want to install a Multi-Species Native Lawn, like HABITURF. However, I live in Houston, Texas and most of your information on this topic doesn't address my region. As I don't have a heavily shaded...
view the full question and answer

Blocking stolons of St. Augustine grass
July 25, 2008 - I have St. Augustine in my yard, and I am sick of edging the stolons that grow onto the sidewalk and driveway. Is there any way to stop the stolons or block them so that I can just mow and throw away ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.